Friday, 26 February 2016

Digital Textile printing - The Printing of Next Generation

Textile printing has been around with us from centuries. It’s an ancient art that gave colors to fabric years ago. From the early years to till date, textile printing has taken various transformations. The components used, method of printing, the area of use, this all has been modified. Though, the whole technology has taken a new look, the oldest technology is still in use in some areas. One thing which is same as before is the objective. Textile printing aims to provide high-quality product with an artistic design printed on them. 

Textile printing transformation

•  Textile printing started with block printing which is also known as relief printing. In this process, dye is pressed onto the fabric from a wooden block engraved with the design to be printed. This process is quite simple, at the same time, it consumes a lot of time.  

•  After block printing, roller printing came as its successor. In this process, continuous roll of fabric is placed inside a rotating cylinder and being pressed by number of rollers. These rollers, each of different color, are engraved with design patterns to be printed. Roller printing or cylinder printing is quite fast as compared to block printing and hence increases the efficiency.

•  With the beginning of 20th Century, Screen Printing was introduced. Screen printing includes a stencil of images, each of different color, attached on a screen (usually made of silk). Then, ink is pushed on the screen with the help of rollers. This stencil technique covers a wide range of designs to be printed on the fabric. Stencil is the heart of screen printing as it is the source of imprinted designs.

•   After this, the most popular printing technique came into force i.e. Digital Textile Printing. The use of digital media for images, versatility of physical material on which printing is to be done, speed, accuracy and flexibility has made this printing completely different from traditional textile printing. This is the reason why Digital Printing is considered to be the next generation printing technique.

Digital Textile Printing 

Digital Textile Printing refers to the use of digital media for the images to be printed upon the textile. Unlike the previous techniques, this does not require any intermediate steps of printing onto paper first and then to the fabric. In this printing, a digital based image is directly printed to a variety of media like paper, plastic card or fabric. It uses dye sublimation printer for this whole process. Once you are done with the designs, print it on fabric through the dye sublimation printer. This is just like a normal paper printing.

How it works

First of all, the design to be printed is made in the computer using software (usually Adobe Photoshop).  A single block of the design is repeated multiple times according to the need to make a full design. Once the design is ready, the second step starts i.e. printing. A dye sublimation printer is used in the next step. This printer is directly connected to the same computer in which design have been made.  It uses heat to transfer dye on to textiles (or other materials) and hence employs the printing process. 

As there are no additional steps between the two ends, this technique saves a lot of time. This makes it cost-effective too. But there is one requirement which is to be fulfilled before the printing process i.e. pre-treatment of fabric. The fabric on which printing is to be done is pre-treated with ink. This is done to check the ink holding capacity of the fabric. If fabric fails to do so, printing does not start. 

Digital Textile Printing – Types

Digital printing covers multiple areas of our day to day life. From cotton to polyester, each fabric can be printed effectively using this technique. Here is a list of various types of digital textile printing

Cotton, Linen, Neon, Satin, Silk printing
Bed sheets and Pillow printing
Cushions printing
Curtains printing
Customized Children Room printing
Dress Printing
Shawl And Stoles printing
Scarf printing
Polyester printing
Lycra printing
Canvas shoe printing
Kaftan printing

Yes, Digital Textile Printing has covered each and every area of your daily life. Whether it’s your dress or it’s your shoe, if you want a print you will definitely get it. You can get a print on your cushions and curtains too. Isn’t it seems interesting? The dress you wear, the scarf you carry, moreover the shoe you are wearing can be printed with modern design patterns. Digital printing can be done on any fabric. It does not matter whether it’s Cotton, Linen, Neon, Satin or Silk. You can go creative with any type of fabric. When it comes to kids, Digital Textile Printing can do a lot. From bed sheets to the tiny dress accessories they wear, all can take a different and unique look with beautiful prints. 

Polyester is one of the most challenging fabrics to work upon. Its heat sensitivity capacity is quite high because of which it shrinks when subjected to high degree of temperature. Digital textile printing covers this challenging fabric too. Dresses, Cushions, Curtains made up of polyester can also be printed with this technique.

Advantages of Digital Textile Printing

Cost-effective: A computer, printer and dye are the major components of digital printing which reduces the extra cost.

Saves time: Digital printing directly prints on the fabric hence eliminates the intermediate steps in between, this technique saves time.

Flexible: Designs can be managed from the remote locations too. This makes it flexible to use among customers.

Environment friendly: It is much cleaner and safer to use than the traditional methods of textile printing. This feature makes it environment-friendly.

Digital Textile Printing has given a boom to the printing industry. It has become so popular among users that at present, it is holding almost half of the print market shares. Due to the reduced cost and business growth, it has become the top investment priority among professionals. 

All such factors have contributed to the rapid growth of Digital textile printing.